12.22.2013

better late than never...a new holiday banner!

this morning was one of those perfect sunday mornings. we had a forecast of snow and snow and more snow this morning, basically meaning we were hibernating this morning. yes, both boys were up early (after being up many, many, many times in the night with little mr. re-nest #2 during night #1 of sleep training), but i made my tea (tazo refresh is my favorite) and happened across "you've got mail" on AMC. (note: if you're ever in a trivia contest where you are asked what one of my two top fave movies of all time is: one of the correct answers is "you've got mail.") with nothing but time and two boys who were looking to play, we headed down to the basement and my studio. the boys played. i finally got time to make a banner i have had planned for weeks, but just had zero time.

i've mentioned in previous posts that i re-focused my holiday décor colors this year. along with that, i wanted to have a cute little banner to string across the mantle. (many years ago (a.k.a. pre-kiddos) i used to go kind of all-out on the mantle. that changed the year i managed to knock down one of mr. re-nest's speaker-things from the mantle with my garland. that didn't go over well.) ever since, our mantle has pretty much just been stocking holders and stockings. i figured this year, with a little paper and some bakers twine, i could add something to this space and not be in danger of ruining more electronics of my husband's.

it's a simple little banner, really. just using some of my platinum scrapbook paper, some fancy silver with glitter dots paper and white paper, along with my cricut, i came up with this (that i think it pretty cute, if i do say so myself)

it seems my banner photo was photobombed by our santa the elf
 
i used two cricut cartridges: plantin schoolbook for the letters and circles, and alphalicious for the first scalloped layer. i also reduced the "flatness" of the banner by raising the smallest grey circle with some adhesive spacers.


i like what it adds to our holiday décor, and what's better is that i have zero chance of knocking anything over with this banner. (and, mr. re-nest appreciates that too!)

happy holidays! (just three more days to go!)
ashley

12.20.2013

pure giddyness

yep, that pretty much sums up how i'm feeling this week. giddy. goodness, i love being crafty and creative and the happiness and joy it brings to others. that makes me giddy. oh and the upcoming holidays make me pretty darn happy too!

at one of my last shows, i had the chance to meet a lovely new re-nest fan, and over the past couple of weeks, i've had the opportunity of helping with some holiday gifts for her. one of those was a brand new piece...an idea that was born out of her niece recently having joined a sorority. of course, having been in a sorority myself, i remembered the great friends that were brought into my life because of joining greek life. and from this exciting time in her niece's life, came a brand new re-nest studio piece....

the new customized sorority letters + icon framed paper art!
so, this got me thinking. i remember when i first got into my sorority (and then the years after when we were welcoming new members in), that you pretty much are on the lookout for anything and everything with your letters on it. why couldn't this piece be a lovely little addition to a college student's dorm room or apartment or room at the sorority house? so, i bring you the new customized sorority letters + icon framed paper art

i just remember wanting and needing the rooms that i lived in in college to feel something like home...to have some pretty to them to help make the small space not feel so, well, small. having prettiness and cuteness in a college room can help. a lot.

with this new product intro, also comes a new shop section on the re-nest studio etsy store...introducing college spaces! this one piece is just the start...keep an eye out as we continue to expand this section of the store in 2014, and add more special designs for the college life!

enjoy!
ashley

12.13.2013

a new mini monogram

the holidays have had me in a flurry of craftiness at the re-nest house...which has been the greatest gift ever! getting to make special pieces that will have a special place in a new home is a fabulous feeling. i'm so, so proud and grateful that i get to share my little creations with fans and little ones and their special places!

one of the fun pieces i've recently had the chance to finish is a brand new mini monogram canvas wall art, for a very special gift! what i love about this is the fearlessness with using a bright and bold color as the palette. i'm loving this grass green with white to help give this special piece some extra pop in the recipient's house!


don't forget...the mini monogram canvas wall art is available on the etsy store, available for order in your custom colors and size! check it out and let us know what you think!



12.06.2013

my 2013 favorite things!

happy friday all! if you are anything like me, you possibly woke up this morning, started thinking about your weekend, and said, "oh boy! there are only three more weekends until christmas! shopping! i need to shop!" i don't know about y'all, but i rely on my weekends to get all things holiday complete. the weekday evenings are just shot between swim lessons, dinner, kiddos, laundry, and on and on and on and on....

well, hopefully i can come to the rescue (a bit). typically, i wait until after christmas to share my favorite things....gifts that i received that i just love and know i won't be able to live without. well, this year, i'm shaking things up a bit....and i've pulled some of my very favorite holiday 2013 ideas to share with you...my dear re-nest fans! and, there's a theme: this year, i've pulled some of my very favorite etsy artisans...some friends that have lovely, lovely, lovely offerings that i want everyone to know about. and, what could be better than giving a gift or a lovely message to a dear person in your life that is unique, different, and also supports an artisan who has passion? 

without further ado, i give you....(drumroll, please)....the re-nest 2013 holiday favorite things!

*all images credited to, and provided by the individual etsy shops.

for the important part...who are these amazing etsy artisans, you ask? i am so, so excited to share with you the following artists (with links to their stores below!):

1. frills: pretty. fancy. fun.: military-style adjustable hat with flower accent.

2. hi mamma.: fabric covered button bookmark with paper clip.

3. I DO invitations by michelle.: chalkboard holiday photo card with glitter bunting. 

4. little houses clothing.: rosemont sweater.

5. kay decor.: crocheted boot cuffs.

i love each and every one of these artists, their work and their style...and would love for you to explore their stores (because they have many, many, many other fabulous offerings!), support them and become fans!

happy shopping to all!
ashley

11.27.2013

post #100! (oh, and a black friday special too!)

well, well, well. here we are. after almost three years, we’ve made it to post #100. you know how on tv shows they roll out a big cake when episode #100 hits? yeah, well, there won’t be a cake today (this mama is still trying desperately to lose the last of the baby weight), but instead of cake, we have something way better….

the very first black friday - or as i prefer to call it “the re-nest studio grey + green friday” - spectacular!

on friday, november 29, 2013 ONLY you’ll receive 20% off of the list price for any piece ordered (that is specified to be a part of the grey + green friday spectacular on the etsy store). a great deal for unique and personalized gift options for the holidays!

and, while it’s not fun, here’s the fine print:

*the re-nest studio grey + green friday spectacular runs from 12:01a CT on friday, november 29, 2013 to 11:59p CT on friday, november 29, 2013. the 20% discount does not apply to the following: gift certificates, previous re-nest studio purchases, shipping & handling charges, and commissioned/customized orders not seen in the current etsy shop. all purchases must be purchased in full via paypal by friday, november 29, 2013 at 11:59p CT.

another important item to note: friday, november 29, 2013 will be the last day to place an order in time for Christmas delivery. all of my pieces are customized, and that will give plenty of time for the creation, drying and shipment for your lovely holiday gifts!

that’s it ladies and gents! that’s way better than some silly cake, right?

happy shopping to all…and just in case you’re wondering, i will be available all day friday via the etsy store message platform for any questions you have in placing an order!
ashley

11.15.2013

more brotherly love

y'all know we have all sorts of brotherly love goin' on in the re-nest house these days. my two little adorable boys who absolutely adore each other make my heart want to just jump out of my chest on most days.

what i love is that my two boys will always have each other as siblings. having a sister myself, i know and get that incredible bond between siblings. i'd wish that bond for anyone.

at our most recent show, i met a lovely woman who stopped at our table and one of our special pieces caught her eye. our "sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero" piece. she instantly connected to it. and then she started telling me a great story about her son, who is an only child and is now in college in arizona. as a part of his college journey, he joined a fraternity. and his mom told me just how much his fraternity brothers mean to him...that they've taken the place of having grown up with siblings.

she was so touched by the piece that she ordered it, customized in her son's university colors, and finished off with his fraternity's letters.


enjoy!
ashley

11.10.2013

a "whoa" kind of weekend

have you ever had a weekend where your to-do list seems impossible? where you look at it and say "there is zero way that i'm going to get through even half of this?" yeah, that was us around the re-nest house this weekend. wait, let me rephrase. that was my situation this weekend. i had a list that was a mile long. and i thought there was zero way i was going to get a through any of it. 

now, i'm sitting here on a sunday night, with my glass of wine (amen), and reflecting back on mastering much of that seemingly impossible list.

how did the weekend go?

4:30am saturday - wake up call from little mr. re-nest #2. 

8am saturday - pilates. my hour a week that's for me. early morning workouts make me happy.

9am - 12:30pm saturday - picked up dry cleaning. stopped at grocery to pick up organic veggies for sunday date with a friend to make baby food. home. folded little mr. re-nest #1's laundry and put it away. snuggle time with little mr. re-nest #2 who fell asleep on me. shower. get ready to head to the salon.

12:45pm - 3:45pm saturday - okay, so more me time. it was time for mama to get her hair done. i was this close to cutting all of my hair off. until mr. re-nest told me how cute he thought my long hair was, then i felt bad and decided to wait.

4:00pm saturday - "family time". which means "get-in-the-car-head-45-minutes-away-for-mr.-re-nest-to-look-at-a-set-of-new-wheels-and-tires." but it was good family time. (p.s. he got the wheels and tires.)

6:00pm - end of the night saturday - dinner. family time. i fell asleep in little mr. re-nest #1's room. 

5am sunday - wake up call from little mr. re-nest #2. 

7am sunday - wake up call from little mr. re-nest #1. 

8am sunday - everyone is up. get bags and veggies and tools ready for the baby food making date with a friend.

9am - 11am sunday - work. i should actually say "work." i had the opportunity to work on three new projects this morning....a great anniversary gift, a special christmas gift and a piece for my upcoming holiday bazaar. (more to come on these!)

12pm - 5:30pm sunday - our date to make baby food. this was my first foray into this and i was totally psyched about it. i pulled together my organic veggies, my baby bullet, all of the storage containers, and got together with a friend from work to make gobs and gobs of baby food. three hours later (and some more time at home) and i had eight ice cube trays filled with green beans, peas, pumpkin, sweet potato, pears and apples. it feels so, so great to make little mr. re-nest #2's baby food. love it!

6pm - now sunday - dinner. bath time for the boys. got little mr. re-nest #2 to try is first serving of green beans. (he wasn't a total fan.) wine. blog time. 

i know so many of us run ourselves ragged each and every day. and what i did this weekend wasn't heroic or unique or special. for me, it was more than what i usually do. and i'm pretty dang proud of getting this much finished. and now, i'm tired. and need some rest before another frantic weeks begins.

here's to all of us who do and do and do and do without stopping each day,
ashley 


11.06.2013

re-nest studio's studio!

just like i said going into this last weekend: we were gonna spend time in the basement this weekend. i literally had five different "things" that needed to be hung on the wall, which had been leaned up against walls for, oh, the last three months or so. so, when this last weekend meant there were zero appointments, zero places we had to be, and nothing but time at home, i laid down the law. we were going to put some holes in the basement walls. (which is how my loving husband refers to it.)

first up: the fabric covered magnetic board for my craft/studio area. (check out the post on how-to make the magnet board here.) no joke, i had marked on the wall where i wanted this hung about ten weeks ago, but it just hadn't happened. (you might be asking yourself, "why doesn't she just hang this stuff herself?" yeah, well it turns out that i can hang lightweight things...things that don't require wall anchors and drills and screws. i leave those things to mr. re-nest.)



next? the boys' creative space (which is right next to my studio space). we had their art/activity table (which is the espresso activity table with paper roller from land of nod) in place, but i had a whole slew of things to hang above their table. you see, i'm a firm believer in having somewhere in the home to feature my little ones' projects and artwork. this was going to be that space. what all did we have to hang?



1. the boys' magnetic board. just like mine but with an orange-and-white chevron fabric wrap.

2. the framed cork board. shown with the how-to here.

3. the ikea dignitet curtain wire system, which we're using to hang artwork.

4. the super fun crayon artwork



once on the wall, we added the most important part: the artwork. and once this was added, it felt like the space was together. my craft space + the boys' creative space = a longtime home dream attained and a happy, happy me.



here's to creating your creative spaces,
ashley

10.27.2013

a super special special delivery

i finally got my act together. five months (and one looming craft show) later, i finally, finally, finally designed and created one of my special delivery canvas wall art pieces for little mr. re-nest #2. it had been on my to-do list forever, but with the show this weekend, i really wanted to be able to have this piece there as an example...it just seemed like photos didn't do the cuteness justice!

i think most know what little mr. re-nest #2's nursery looks like. (if not, you can check out the design process here and here and here and here.) what i love about the green and navy is that the color combo naturally lends itself to a very academic-esque, rugby-stripe, feels like fall and football weather kind of vibe. so, i went with that for this piece (note: i was also super-inspired by this pottery barn kids bedroom).

i also knew i wanted to add this to the gallery wall i started in the nursery, so i went with an 11" x 14" canvas. some paint, lots of cutting with the cricut (using my trusty plantin schoolbook cartridge) and adhering, we have the finished special delivery wall art for my special delivery!

custom special delivery canvas wall art. available on the etsy store.
 
another thing i love about this? that this piece can be done with a masculine feel. most of the other pieces i've done and featured on the etsy store have been more feminine, so i love that this piece can feel like it's for a boy's room.

enjoy!
ashley


10.20.2013

part ii: my future scientist

for anyone that caught my original post about the scientist onesie, i had to share little mr. re-nest #2's debut in the onesie. (i had been waiting for the right day for him to rock the adorable geeky onesie...saturday was the day!)

so, short and sweet (both this post and my little man)...

little mr. re-nest #2 and his love, sophie the giraffe

happy weekend to all!
ashley

10.08.2013

yep, i'm getting ready for christmas (already)

yep. i've decided to become "one of those people." call it a need to think and plan way ahead now that i feel like i could lose track of any given thing at any minute, or call it that i absolutely love christmas, or call it that this will be the very first year in my thirty-four christmases that i will not be waking up on christmas morning at my parent's house, but christmas planning has started. you see, with a four-year-old who "gets" the whole santa thing and who last year was starting to ask "but how will santa know to come to indiana for me, and not dekalb?", dr. re-nest (see, honey, i changed it) and i decided that this year, we will stay in illinois for christmas eve and christmas day, so that our little ones can experience the magic of having santa come to their house. let me just say that i can't wait. christmas morning will likely be my third favorite day of the year (behind the day little mr. re-nest #2 was born, and little mr. re-nest #1's birthday).

and, i should mention that i'm not the only one who's gotten on the "we need to plan for christmas now" bandwagon. dr. re-nest has too. he's tossed around (more than once) the concept of using the nice days we have now to go out and put all of the christmas lights around the house. let's just say that i wouldn't be surprised if our house looks like this on christmas eve: 

photo from hookedonhouses.net

but for me, my focus is on the inside. i've always been partial to having our christmas decorations in the traditional deep red and white and silver. i've had the same tree skirt and stockings for probably ten years (one of my splurges when we had no money, but i was working part-time at pottery barn, so i justified it by having an employee discount and a little extra pocket change that said "you must have the red faux fur tree skirt and matching stockings") i love that tree skirt and stockings. but for the past four years or so, i've been itching to change out the color scheme of our holiday decorations to more of an ivory and silver focus. but i haven't found the perfect tree skirt or stockings to officially take the plunge. (because for me, it all starts with these two key elements of holiday decorations.)

but this year, there's the push to find these. that, and i happened to get a special little piece in the mail this weekend, which just pushed me over the edge of trying to find these new decorations now. 



i first was checking out potterybarnkids.com (because little mr. re-nest #1's stocking is from here, and they also have a pretty darn cute stocking option for baby's first christmas), and i happened across these adorable little gems:


um, grey and ivory stockings?!?! yes, please! and they can be monogrammed! even more, yes please! finding these, i was convinced that i could find a great ivory tree skirt. which because of my coupon, led me to potterybarn.com to see what they had to offer. i found this cute, faux fur one, but i'm not totally sold. 



for one, i can likely find something much cheaper at hobby lobby or somewhere else. but i like the look of this one, and like the softness of it. the search will continue, because i love those stockings way too much to let this plan of mine go by the wayside.

that's as far as i've gotten in my sunday morning attempt at finding all new christmas decorations. the good thing is that most of my ornaments are either silver or glass, so there won't have to be a ton of new ornaments purchased either. so maybe if push comes to shove, i can justify the cost of the pottery barn tree skirt because i can use a lot of what i already have in the ornament department?!?!

tell us: are you already planning for the holidays? what's your holiday decor or theme or colors? 

10.05.2013

my future scientist

before last weekend, i made a declaration to a co-worker that "i was gonna get my craft on" last weekend. the week (and that friday) had been horrendous (at my nine-to-five, not at home!) and i needed to be creative. three weeks before, an awesome package showed up from amazon with some material i was just dying to try...so, i set aside time last weekend and got my craft on.

what was this to-die-for material? um, a new roll of the cricut iron-on material. in black. with the intention of making a super adorable onesie for little mr. re-nest #2. oh, and i should have mentioned that about six weeks prior, i ordered the two new cricut cartridges, specially designed for the iron-on material, so i had everything i needed.

the two carts i got we're the boho graphics and brooklyn carts...super modern and fun graphics that will play well on a tee, a bag, a canvas, or a onesie. choosing which design to try was easy: i went with the "science" graphic on the brooklyn cart. my little nod to mr., err, dr. re-nest. 

along with my cartridge, i had a freshly washed (new) onesie, my iron-on material, an iron and an extra piece of cloth. and here's how it went down...


step one: figure out the size to cut the graphic. since we're dealing with a onesie, space is limited. but scale has to be right. admittedly, i eyeballed it and came up with 3.75" as my graphic size. 

step two: cut a piece of the iron-on material and place (plastic side down) on a standard cricut cutting mat. for a 3.75" graphic, i did a 5" x 5" square cut. this is key to plan out, so you make sure to be as efficient as possible with the iron-on material.



step three: cut the graphic. note: you have to make sure to flip your image when you set it up on your cricut. because you are cutting non-plastic side up, you're actually cutting on what will be the underside of your design.




step four: after you have your cut, you want to keep your iron-on material on the cutting mat, so you can easily peel away the negative spaces of your design (if there are any). there's a special cricut tool that you can use for this (it's called a hook tool) that comes in the cricut tool kit. i just simply used a set of tweezers to get these pieces out of the design. once you do this, you're left with your positive design on the plastic.



step five: set up your iron. set it to the cotton setting, and pre-heat your fabric for about 30 seconds.

step six: set your design, plastic side up, on your fabric, where you want it to be ironed-on.


step seven: overlay your extra fabric (i used an old white tee) over the plastic and design, then use the iron to heat the area (with pressure) for about 30-45 seconds. 

step eight: allow the area to cool for about five minutes.

step nine: begin peeling back your plastic, which should allow your iron-on design to stay on the fabric. *note: it actually took me several times to heat the area of my design before i could peel back the plastic and my iron-on material was staying on the onesie. it was a little bit of a trial and error scenario. the good thing is that if you see that a portion of your design is not sticking, all  you have to do is re-lay the plastic down over your iron-on design, place the extra fabric (or tee, in my case) over the plastic and re-iron. 


step ten: take pictures! enjoy! *note: it's highly recommended that when you are washing anything with the iron-on material, to turn it inside out before washing. 

yippee! little mr. re-nest #2's very cool new wardrobe addition
i'm so, so excited about this material and all of the cool things that can be done with it...in fact, i'm pretty sure little mr. re-nest #1 and #2 will both have a ridiculous amount of clothing that will have iron-ons on them. and, i'm pretty sure we're going to be using this to make some adorable holiday gifts for our people too!

enjoy!
ashley

10.01.2013

a little crayola fun

remember being a little one and getting a brand new box of crayons? yeah, me too. wow was that awesome. a perfect box of new crayons was a thing of beauty...almost so that you didn't want to use even one to throw off the perfect balance. 

i happened to come across an idea on pinterest for some cool framed art for the boys' art area in our basement and thought i'd treat myself to a little craft time + a brand new box of crayolas (the 96 pack, of course!)

*side note: okay, it's been decades since i bought a box of crayons. but did you know the following?

- the 96 pack now includes glitter crayons. and neon ones too.

- yes, burnt sienna is still a color.

- macaroni and cheese is a color now too

i digress. so, saturday night rolled around (yes, saturday night...i have a toddler + a four-month old...kids got to bed and i went on my merry crafting way) and i started my crayon artwork.

supplies needed: one 12" x 12" shadow box (purchased from hobby lobby), and one 96-pack of crayolas, one glue gun. 
shadow box + crayons (with a special hello from the owl!)
i started by taking apart the shadow box and getting the insert out. i knew i needed to lay out all of the crayons in the pattern i wanted to: 1) make sure i had enough crayons, 2) allow for enough edge on all four sides so the shadow box didn't hit the crayons, and 3) feed my subtle obsessive need for planning before jumping into a project.



it only took about a half-hour to glue all of the crayons down. oh, and i should mention that my 96-pack didn't get me all the way through...i had to make a quick trip to the store to get a 16-pack of crayolas to finish the piece.

the finished piece!
what do you think? kinda fun. bright. good for a kiddos creative space!


9.04.2013

i'm a calendar girl (not in that way)

i love calendars. and planners. and notebooks. pretty much anything or anywhere i can write down goings on, make lists, take notes, and generally have somewhere where i can cross things off a list. (those type-a peeps out there know exactly what i'm talking about!)

little mr. re-nest #1 started pre-school this week (eek!), which meant two weeks ago, we went to orientation night where we got, you guessed it, a calendar of all of the school happenings for the month of september. and all of a sudden a lightbulb went off: "we have a field trip when?" "wait, when do swim lessons start?" "when is my hair appointment?" we needed a family-centric calendar to keep everything in one place...like stat. between the swim lessons and doctor's appointments and picture day and mr. re-nest's weekly evening conference calls, i needed one place to keep it all. enter one of my favorite, favorite, favorite calendars of all time:
the 2014 paper source academic great big wall calendar.
image from paper source.  
i've featured this calendar before. like every holiday for the past two years. i have one of these on my desk at work. and now i have seventeen months worth of glorious empty calendar space to fill up at home. heaven.

this isn't the only amazing calendar that paper source has....actually many of their calendars are gorgeous pieces of art, with very lovely illustrations and images and photographs. we're talking stuff gorgeous enough to put in a frame after its time to change your calendar over to the next month. 

so, given my fascination with calendars and especially ones from paper source, you can imagine my excitement when i found a behind-the-scenes look at how the design team at paper source developed the lovely 2014 calendars. there's little i love (and appreciate) more in the crafty world than getting the inside view of the hows and whys of design. i hope you love seeing this unique little view into one of my very favorite organizational tools!

tell us: how do you keep your family organized? do you have a family calendar?

9.02.2013

brotherly love

okay, so when i was about three days prego with little mr. re-nest #2, i discovered the genius "secret boards" on pinterest. perfect timing because besides wondering exactly when that feeling of being on a fishing boat in the middle of a storm was going to set in, i went right to "how am i going to decorate this little one's space?" 

while i was going along and secret pinning a lot of stuff, i came across the cutest (and i mean, hands down, most adorable) thing i had ever seen: the marc brown quote "sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero." 

awwww....

what better quote to incorporate into little mr. re-nest #1's room? and i'd been contemplating starting a piece that was in the subway art look and feel, so this seemed like the perfect way to kill two birds.

so i totally admit, i started this project a long time ago. first goal was to have it for the fourth birthday party. nope. second goal was to have it before little mr. re-nest #2 was born. double nope. third goal: get it done while on maternity leave. yeah, that didn't happen.

so, something like nine months after that secret pin, i give you little mr. re-nest #1's new wall art addition. 



besides the fact that he's a big brother, this is all the more poetic because his little brother already looks at him like he is his hero. it's really just one (of the million) most adorable things little mr. re-nest #2 does.

oh, and in case you're wondering, there's a girly version too (that i'll do for the shop and to share at shows). it's pretty adorable too!

here's to the little superheroes,
ashley

p.s. and, this will be on the re-nest studio etsy store, in case you'd like to chat about a custom version for your little superhero! check out the new "sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero" custom wall art here!

8.21.2013

these glorious last twelve weeks

*note: this post has pretty much absolutely zero to do with anything crafty or creative or home decor or design, but rather this is me, sharing with all of you...some of whom are mamas, or soon-to-be mamas, or will-be-mamas-someday, what the last twelve weeks of maternity leave have been for me. as i start to write this, i can feel the tears welling, so if you're an emotional-type, you might want to grab some tissues. i have some next to me.

twelve weeks. nine months ago, that sounded like the biggest span of time ever. i mean, i won't have to go to work for twelve weeks? absolutely. sign me up. i can stay in my little cocoon, just me and my to-be-named son, staring at what was sure to be his gorgeous face and tending to his every need. yes, sign me up.

well, as of tomorrow, twelve weeks have come and gone. tomorrow, i go back to work. and as i reflect back on the gift that has been maternity leave, i can't help but get a little misty eyed (okay, i have total gushing tears coming down my face) at what the last twelve weeks have given me. here's some of what has meant the most to me:

1. obviously, twelve weeks ago tomorrow. at 7:45am, it all started. our son was going to make his way into the world. i got to look at noah and in the most serious voice i could muster, i asked him to please put his shoes on, that it was time to go to jenny's. when he didn't move in a swift manner, i got to have that moment with him that we had prepared him for - i got to kneel down on his level, look noah in the eyes and say, "hey bud, do you remember how mommy and daddy have told you that when it's time for your brother to come that we're going to go to the hospital? well, it's time for mommy and daddy to go to the hospital. so i really need you to go put your shoes on." the look in his eyes was priceless. and, another of the many moments i'll never forget from this day was when i drove him to jenny's. she came out to the car to get him (since my water had broken and i was waiting for mike to get home from work and i was trying to move as little as possible), and before he jumped out of the car, i grabbed his hand, and looked intently at him and said, "i love you so much, buddy." that was going to be the last time i saw him as an only child and i wanted to remember it forever.

2. feeling like kind of a bada*s during labor. i was intent on making it further with this labor before the epidural than i did with noah. and i did. call it competitiveness (or as mike puts it, "you can't tell her she can't do something because that just makes her all the more intent on doing whatever it is you're telling her she probably shouldn't do") but dang it, i was going to write a different birth story this time. and i did.
a first picture of mama + alex...minutes before the turkey
sandwich

3. all of the moments with alex in the hospital. seeing noah meet alex. seeing my mom and stepdad meet alex. successfully nursing alex (another thing that i was hellbent on making happen this time around). getting to eat that first turkey sandwich (for anyone who has ever been pregnant and who likes turkey sandwiches - or any deli meat for that matter - you know what i'm talking about).





4. the amazingly awesome revolving door of family. thank you to each and every one of you. you all know who you are. and if i didn't get to express my thanks enough in those first weeks, where the fog of exhaustion and recovery clouded my brain, we love you all. 

5. figuring out how to road trip by myself with two boys. yeah, that was fun. and i was seriously glad we bought the honda pilot three years ago. and not being ashamed that there were moments where i did a roll call in the car to make sure i had two children and one dog. 

6. having sweet mornings in bed with alex. we didn't co-sleep but in some of those first weeks, it kind of felt like it. alex would wake up early, and in order to get some more sleep, i'd bring him into bed with me. he had this special spot he liked to lay in and he'd like to kind of roll towards me. okay, we were totally nose-to-nose (which someone somewhere will probably take issue with), but those mornings were so precious. he would calm as soon as he was close to me. and as a mama, that is the best feeling.

7. getting to spend a whole bunch of time on re-nest studio. i have loved this. i have forfeited sleeping when alex has slept so i could blog, do facebook, tweet, search pinterest, build my designs up, whatever. because this is my passion. i love making things that i think people will like and find unique. 
the greatest big brother we could have
ever imagined

8. seeing noah become a big brother. i had promised noah before my maternity leave that there would be some days that he would stay home with mama and alex. a lot of days, i wanted to keep some normalcy for him, so he went to day care. but some days, we stayed together. and he got to become a big brother. when alex cries, he goes to him and gives him his paci. or the best moment was when i overheard the following: "it's okay alex, noah's here. it's okay buddy." which noah got from me saying, "it's okay alex, mommy's here." melt. my. heart. 

so, as the mommy guilt feels like a ton of bricks on my chest as i look to tomorrow, i want my boys to know just how very much they make my (our) life complete. they are my sunshine. i would walk to the ends of the earth and back for them. they keep me up at night with worry and they make me exhausted, but i wouldn't trade a second of sleep for a second with them. 

i am going to guess that i will be an emotional basketcase tomorrow (it's a good thing i am going back on a thursday. just two days, then the weekend!). but i remind myself that for our family, my working is what we need. and i'll explain that more to them someday when they can understand it. 

and, i'd be a totally bummer of a wife if i didn't acknowledge the guy who got on this roller coaster ride with me. i knew seventeen years ago that he'd be the kick butt father and partner he is today. he never lets me down. he loves our boys with his whole heart. and i know that tomorrow, i'll get text messages and calls from him throughout the day, checking in on me, to make sure i'm keeping it together. and for than, i'm more than eternally grateful.

so, here's to jumping in with both feet (once again). to becoming a working mama of two boys. for taking it one day, one hour, and sometimes, one minute at a time. 

8.15.2013

an obsession with pillows

yes, i have an obsession with pillows. why wouldn't you? they're comfy. they can have the coolest pillow covers made of fluffiness or velvet or cotton or chenille. and in my personal (humble) opinion, they are really make a space. i confess: we have seven pillows on our master bedroom bed. yes, seven. and mr. re-nest makes fun of me with my pillow obsession every chance he can get.

that didn't stop me though. we have a new space to decorate in our basement. the new basement meant two new couches. which to me, meant two new spaces to make comfy with some lovely pillows. (i'll admit: i am trying to do the best i can with recycling pillows we already had in other places in the house. i'm trying.)

so in the basement, we've played through with our grey-ish color palette that we have in much of the rest of the house. but i've of course added accent colors...grey, navy and some pops of orange (thanks to little mr. re-nest #1's selection of an orange-and-white chevron for his magnet board...i got inspired to bring orange in other places.) and since it's a wide open space for all of us to hang out, i wanted to also add some personal family touches in the basement. bring in some personal pillows...

the indiana pillow

last christmas, i was totally taken with the personalized pillows that red envelope introduced...in fact, i even ordered one for a dear friend. one of these options was a personalized state pillow which was adorable. given that i now have two little boys, and while the red envelope ones are lovely, i was trying to stay on the economical side of things for the basement. and, i had to admit, i had my moment of "i can totally make that." so i jumped in. 

on a trip to ikea, i found some really cheap (but decently made) 20" cotton pillow covers, which just happened to come in grey. (woohoo!) plus, they also carry the pillow inserts for an even more economical $6.99 a piece! i took one of each.

next up was finding a large enough graphic of the state of indiana online. easy peasy, thanks to our good friend google. indiana was printed and ready to be trimmed out with an exacto.



once indiana was ready, she was traced onto the center of my grey pillow cover (i highly recommend tracing with pencil, rather than pen). 




to finish it off, i grabbed some of my white fabric paint, a wide brush and a small, detail brush and got to work with painting indiana on the pillow cover.


the finished pillow in its new home!
a couple of hints: keep the brushstrokes always going in one direction. use the small, detail brush for the edges. and, don't be afraid of needing to apply multiple coats. for this pillow, i did two thick coats of the white to make sure there was nice, even coverage.

this little pillow makes me smile. indiana is our home. it's where we were born, grew up, met, married and started our little adventure. 

the present pillow

once again, thank you pinterest. given my pillow obsession, i had pinned this diy pillow cover a long time ago, and pulled this back out once the basement was ready. 

i grabbed a small lumbar pillow from jo-ann's, and had some leftover orange-and-white chevron fabric from the magnet board project. it's as easy as laying out the fabric, wrapping the long ends towards one another, then folding the ends in as if you were wrapping a present, and folding them over the center of the pillow. i did fold the ends in, and grabbed an old sparkly broach of mine to fasten the ends together. and voila! a great little accent pillow for our new little cube in the basement! 



tell us: have you added any new diy decor to your nest lately?

8.13.2013

more crafty space craftiness: the magnet board!

i promised in my previous post, so i am here to deliver! the very simple ins and outs of the magnet boards little mr. re-nest #1 and i made for our crafty areas in the basement. 

like many crafty things, it all started with pinterest. i came across this super cute magnet board a while back, that suggested using a cookie sheet, a piece of fabric and a ribbon to hang. seemed easy enough, right? i just had to wait until we had actual walls in our basement to make the magnet boards. walls were up, paint was dry and it was time for us to make some magnet boards!

little mr. re-nest #1 and i ventured out to get cookie sheets. correction: cookie sheets that were also magnetic. turns out these aren't so easy to find. (i'll clarify...we found cookie sheets, but they were about nine-by-twelve...not large enough for what i'm looking for. plus they didn't have any magnetism. fail.) so we had to go to plan b...which meant another trip to ikea. (yippee!)

one trip to ikea with two kiddos + two spontan magnet boards + one trip to hobby lobby and we were in business. little mr. re-nest #1 selected some orange and white chevron fabric (he's a boy after my own decorating heart), and i picked some dark grey and white dotted fabric for mine. (note: the fabrics we got were a simple lightweight cotton... i didn't want to use something too heavy so as to make sure the magnets worked just fine.) these were pretty simple and took only about fifteen minutes to put together (thanks to the wonder of hot glue)!


step one: iron the fabric. because no matter what, when you buy the fabric, it will need ironed. once all of the wrinkles are out, lay it out (face down) on the floor to size out how much space you need to wrap around the magnet board. 



step two: trim the fabric on two of the sides...i left about two inches of give on all sides to wrap around the edges so they had a nice finish. (in case you are curious about what is in the upper right hand corner of this pic, that would be a lightning mcqueen racetrack. yep, my project got photobombed.)



step three: get ready to adhere your fabric! i used simple hot glue, simply putting about a two inch amount of it on the edge every one to two inches, and then stretching the fabric around the edge. to give it a full finish, i did also do a second wrap around to the inside edges, so that the top and side edges would have a nice, non-frayed finish. and i finished it off with some large white magnets + my magnetic spice containers, which are actually holding crafting goodness (lots and lots and lots of brads for cardmaking!)

so, so, so super simple and easy to make and is great for a kiddo's space, a family organization center, an office, a craft area...pretty much wherever! 

tell us: do you have a space where a fantastic magnet board would help organize your life?

7.29.2013

the new craft area: showing off our stuff

i am so guilty of it...i pin a million and one things i see on pinterest with the hopes that one day i'll have enough time/resources/energy/patience to try and get to all of the super cute ideas. well, the culmination of the great basement project of 2009 - 2013 required me to go back into my pinterest archives (check out my personal "handmade" pin board here) and actually do some of the ideas i've been pinning for the "one day my craft space will be done" time. (because thanks to mr. re-nest, that time is here!)

where to start? well, the craft space was planned as a shared space for me + my little mr. re-nests. we needed some cute and easy ways to show off, err, i mean, display our work and creativeness. so i had been planning away for the following fun little ways to display my little guys' artistic work and some of the fun stuff i do too:

1. from ikea, the dignitet curtain wire system. no joke, i bought two sets of these with the clips about two years ago. i was walking through one of our many, many, many random family ikea trips and saw they had this displayed to show artwork. in the words of gru from "despicable me" (because this is the movie du jour in our house right now), "lightbulb!" these were p-e-r-f-e-c-t for our future crafting/art spaces. i could see it then...one hanging over the boys' activity/art table, and one hanging in my craft space. so i bought them (for a pretty decent $12.99 a piece) and here's the kicker: i actually kept track of them for the past two years. i didn't lose them (which is a minor miracle).

2. easy-peasy framed cork board. i wanted something a bit more than just a cork board i could buy at target or hobby lobby (you know what i'm talking about...the ones that are in the standard brown wooden frame). enter ikea again. i found a nice-sized, simple white wood frame, measuring 19-1/2"-by-19-1/2"...the norrlida frame. (note: the one on the website is larger than the one we got). this plus a roll of cork from hobby lobby, which i cut down to the size of the glass from the frame. (hint here: i actually cut the cork about 1/8" shorter than the size of the glass to make sure that it wouldn't "buckle" in the frame and end up wavy.


ikea's norrlida frame + cork roll


ta-da! the cork board frame!
3. fabric-covered magnetic board. here's the tough one. so, i found this one on pinterest which said to use a cookie sheet. well, there were two roadblocks here: one, dekalb didn't seem to have any cookie sheets that were bigger than 9" x 12" (and i was wanting something much larger), and two, the cookie sheets weren't magnetic. so, we tried again. we ventured to lowes and menards to see about getting a couple of pieces of sheet metal that i could cover in fabric...which we found, but the price was oh, so ridiculous! so, plan c is to get back to ikea (yes, again) and pick up two of these. and cover them in the fabric that we picked up from hobby lobby. (this one isn't finished yet...must...get...to...ikea...to...finish) *photos to come once this one is finished!

i love my new area and how its taking shape. this space has been another one of my babies a long time in the making. i so cannot wait to get creating in my new space!

cheers!
ashley


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